Dear 'GMA' Advice Guru Top 20 Finalists: Vicki Iovine

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Vicki Iovine from Los Angeles, Calif., is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read her application below!

Essay My epiphany to give up trying to be perfect inspired me to write my first book, "Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy." ..."Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood" was published a couple of years later. Since then, I've also written "Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers" and "Girlfriends' Guide to Getting Your Groove Back." In the meantime, I became known as a TV and radio personality, as well. ...I also became an advice columnist on relationships... My educational background includes a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude B.A. degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley, a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law and I was a Rotary Fellow to Cambridge University in England where I earned a degree in International Law and was published in the International Law Journals. I am a member of the California Bar. Most essential to my qualifications to work for GMA, however, is my preference for "been there, done that" experience to "experts." There isn't a personal story I've been told that I've forgotten; be it the details or your labor and delivery or your lack of sexual satisfaction with your mate. I don't tell tales or deal in vulgarity, but I share my own experiences and the anonymous ones of my trusted friends, of which there are now thousands. And I'm funny, at least to everyone who is not my son or daughter. I love the outrageous, the heartfelt and the terrified way most of us confront our lives and believe that once we can find the humor of recognition in our foibles, we are set free. I'm currently in love, which is worth several advice columns in itself -- especially where "new sex" is concerned, as well as dealing with the opinions of four judgmental kids.

What's the best advice you have ever given? What was the result?

"Surrender your desire to be perfect!" When you achieve it, or at least appear to, others to resent you, and when you fall short, it creates self-loathing that robs you of all fun and spontaneity in life. The worst part is that it lacks a healthy measure of humility; we're either trying to be better than everyone or succumbing to the secret worry that we're way worse. I've been preaching the Celebration of Imperfection ever since my first pregnancy; actually even BEFORE. I couldn't get pregnant for three years after marrying. Talk about imperfection! I couldn't even achieve what a drunken 16-year-old managed to do in the backseat of a car! What did I do? I made it my secret. I was ashamed of my "imperfection." Eventually, I DID get pregnant -- four times! -- and STILL I lied. I was ashamed of how much weight I gained in the first trimester so I lied and told my OB that I normally weighed 15 pounds more than I actually did. I sneaked coffee from time to time and lied about that. I didn't even want to TRY natural childbirth, but you'd never know from talking to me. I so wanted to be Perfectly Pregnant, but I never measured up! After the birth of my fourth perfect child, I wrote my first book...to tell my "truths" and reassure women like me who yearned to be perfect that it was an exercise in futility and an exercise in ingratitude.

What would you tell this person: "Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?

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